Addis Ababa, 4 June 2011 -The Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) said it would award more than 70 per cent of the road projects to be carried out in the coming five years to local private contractors which would soon upgrade 19.3km of Kebre Mingist–Shakiso road from gravel to asphalt.
The deal would support smaller construction companies that are pitted against large foreign and local construction companies, according to Samson Wondimu, director of communications at the ERA.
Samson said that local companies would be engaged in constructing about 99,431 km and 11, 212 km all-weather roads at the federal and regional levels respectively. According to Samson, out of the 691 road projects executed at a cost of 64 billion birr over the last 13 years, more than 443 projects worth over 21 billion birr were executed by local companies.
The authority plans to support companies with inadequate capital or resources by awarding them short distance road projects, according to Tesfaye Kebede, junior communications officer at the ERA. It also plans to award long-distance road projects to more established companies in phases to ensure speedy completion of the projects, Tesfaye explained.
About 20 years ago, there were no local private contractors in Ethiopia. However, there are now about 20 of them according to Samson who said that he hoped their number would grow to 100 in the next five years. And the existing road network is about 48,800km, which is expected to increase to 64,500km by 2014/15.
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